Today’s News & Commentary — November 3, 2017
House Republicans unveiled their plan to overhaul the U.S. tax code. The $1.5 trillion plan contemplates a significant tax cut for corporations, which will receive around $1 trillion or two-thirds of the total net cuts. The long-awaited plan decreases the number of tax brackets from seven to four, eliminates the alternative minimum tax, and leaves retirement savings accounts unchanged. The bill also proposes repealing the estate tax by 2024, cuts back on education and charitable deductions, and eliminates the state and local tax deduction in key states like New York and New Jersey. The Senate is expected to release its own tax bill as early as next week.
President Trump nominated Jerome Powell to serve as chair the Federal Reserve. According to The New York Times, Powell, who has been a member of the Fed’s board of governors since 2012, has “consistently voted with [current chair] Yellen to slowly raise interest rates and sell off assets that the Fed bought up in the wake of the severe recession of 2008 and 2009.” The article also points out that President Trump’s nomination is a break from precedent — the previous three Fed chairs were reappointed, each by a president of the opposite political party.
Yesterday, billionaire Joe Ricketts shuttered local news sites DNAinfo and Gothamist, just a week after staffers voted to unionize. According to the New York Daily News, Ricketts, an outspoken opponent of unions, had signaled he might close the business if the union vote succeeded. The 115 employees were notified about the loss of their jobs via email. Ricketts said he was closing the site due to its lack of profitability.
GM and Ford confirmed they are cooperating with an expanded Justice Department probe into alleged misspending at UAW union training centers. The Detroit News reported that prosecutors issued subpoenas for information about the training centers and that DOJ is also looking at charities operated by union officials. The investigation has already led to charges against four Fiat-Chrysler employees, including a former company vice president charged with making $1.2 million in improper payments to a former union vice president and his wife. Both GM and Ford have said they intend to fully cooperate with the probe.